Christians and the 2010 constitution referendum in Kenya: A search for explanations from a retrospective study
Religion has co-existed with the politics since times immemorial and the issue of how they influence one another is of perennial interest. Kenya is indeed no exception in this regard and in the politically repressive 1980s, it was only the voices of the mostly Christian clergy that could be heard in the fearful silence. Thus the Christian church came to be closely associated with the fight for political freedom and democratization. However, all that came into serious question in 2010 when a referendum that was held to approve a new constitution was conducted. During that year the most notable opposition to the proposed constitution came from the Christian clergy. What caused this turn-around? It is this question that prompted this retrospective search for explanations from the data gathered from a study of some 870 undergraduate students in universities in Kenya that was conducted in 1999. How could the change in political standpoint of the clergy be explained? Did it have something to do with the political attitudes engendered by membership in these churches? The findings suggest that although Christianity influences political attitudes to some extent, such influence is not overwhelming and what was witnessed in the referendum may therefore be due to influences emanating from other than the attitudes and orientations nurtured by professing Christianity as a faith.